NEW NONPROFIT USES SCUBA AND AQUATIC RESEARCH TO EXPOSE BALTIMORE GIRLS & YOUNG WOMEN TO ‘STREAM’ CAREERS
Black Girls Dive Foundation, Inc. receives federal grant for underwater Remote Operated Vehicles
OWINGS MILLS, MD – Black Girls Dive Foundation, Inc. (BGDF), a newly-founded, non-profit organization plans to expose Baltimore area girls and young women to aquatic-based recreation, research and career opportunities.
In June, the Office of Naval Research awarded BGDF a grant to build underwater Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV) for BGDF’s STREAMS Program. The federal grant covers the cost of ROV kits for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculums and programs in schools and through organizations across the country as part of its SeaPerch Program.
“We are grateful for the recognition of Black Girls Dive Foundation as a viable and innovative program for girls and young women and welcome the support of the Office of Naval Research for our STREAMS program, which is our first,” said C. Nevada Winrow, Ph.D., one of BGDF’s co-founders and president. “What makes us unique is that we not only embrace STEM, but recognize the importance of the Arts, robotics and Scuba in aquatic-based sciences.”
The Foundation’s STREAMS program integrates science, technology, robotics, engineering, the arts and mathematics with scuba diving by having program participants build underwater remote operated vehicles with video recording capabilities to engage in introductory underwater exploration of diverse marine ecosystems and study reef behavior.
A collaborative partnership has also been established with Charm City Scuba to conduct dive checkouts and scuba certifications for all BGDF participants under the auspices of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).
In addition to its STREAMS program, BGDF disburses scholarships for swimming classes and scuba certifications, engages in coral restoration and conservation activities, and provides mentoring and leadership in STEM. Program participants are not required to already be able to swim, but possess an interest in STREM and be local girls or young women, aged 9 years old to college-aged freshmen.
“With all our programs, our hope is to encourage African American girls to enter and excel in STEM and to provide opportunities and experiences to ultimately increase representation in aquatic-based STEM areas,” said Winrow, also a PADI-certified master diver and a John Hopkins School of Medicine-trained pediatric neuropsychologist, who founded the organization with her daughter, Taylor, a PADI- certified open water diver and Prion research associate at UC-San Diego, as well as Renita Ellis, Ph.D., a PADI-certified advanced open water diver, and retired U.S. Army veteran.
The organization is hosting its inaugural event at The National Aquarium, Saturday, September 2 at 11 a.m. Details to be determined.
Black Girls Dive Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit organization, which exposes girls and young women to Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, the Arts, Mathematics and Scuba (STREAMS) through aquatic-based recreation, research and career opportunities. The foundation aims to increase African American female representation in STEM area.